Trawling the World Cup archive
And then, of course, there is Jimmy Hill’s Christmas tree.
Not to be confused with the tactical masterplan of Hill’s old sparring partner Terry Venables, this is in fact the moment that kicked off BBC TV’s review of the 1982 World Cup in Spain. The half-hour show opened with a stereotypical ‘80s title sequence, then mixed to a Christmas tree, before the camera panned across to reveal Our Jimmy, sitting resplendent in trademark beard, lemon-coloured polo neck and brown slacks. Think Val Doonican meets Ming the Merciless and you won't be far off.
It’s a televisual gem guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of football fans of a certain age. And I only know about it because I stumbled across it while checking out some of the footage in a new video archive of classic World Cup action that we launched on the website this week.
Once you start looking at this kind of archive programming, it soon becomes addictive, as you notice how football has changed over the decades – and how TV production and commentary styles have changed with it.
Being able to offer this rich footage to our audience at their convenience is one of the great benefits of the “on-demand world” that the media industry is moving swiftly towards. But as ever when it comes to sports video on the internet, the tricky territory of rights is never far away.
And on this subject, there are two points to mention about our video archive.
Firstly, we only have the rights to show it to a UK audience. If you’re accessing our site from overseas you won’t be able to watch this classic action.
And secondly, the rights agreement covers all World Cups up to and including 1998. This means you won’t see anything from 2002, I’m afraid.
But hopefully there’s still more than enough to enjoy, if you’ve got a spare few days to watch everything on offer.
And if you find a forgotten moment that's as good as Jimmy’s jumper, I’d be very keen to hear about it…